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As film festivals, awards shows and coronavirus vaccinations continue, so do flights carrying Hollywood stars and insiders to their destinations. A record number of travelers have passed through TSA checkpoints in recent months, with 2.24 million people (the highest so far in 2022) going through on Feb. 18, according to the U.S. agency.
Luxury airline Aero has seen business take flight since its U.S. launch in February 2021, when it began offering private flights from Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles to Aspen. (It launched in Europe in 2019 with flights between Ibiza and Mykonos.) It rolled out flights last summer from L.A. to Sun Valley, Jackson Hole and Napa Valley and a route to Las Vegas debuted in October, while European offerings have expanded from London to Ibiza and Nice, Aero chief executive officer Uma Subramanian tells The Srdtf News.
“We have seen demand continue to increase since Aero launched and throughout the pandemic,” says Subramanian. “[The coronavirus] has really illustrated that travel is essential to who we are as human beings, and so there is enormous pent-up demand for new travel experiences. At Aero, we are excited to welcome new and repeat guests on our routes in the U.S. and Europe.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that air travel is safe for those who are fully vaccinated. As of December 2021, the U.S. is requiring that all international travelers entering the U.S. provide a negative COVID-19 test within one day of departure before boarding. All plane passengers (except for those ages 2 and younger) are required by federal law to wear a face mask in U.S. airports and on flights regardless of vaccination status.
Echoing reports of Hollywood’s favorite post-lockdown vacations (which included Aspen and wine country in the U.S. and abroad to Mexico), Aero’s luxury-loving clients are “clamoring for a seamless travel experience to visit destinations like Los Cabos,” adds Subramanian. “Aero’s guests are seeking a radically better air travel experience. They are discerning customers who value service, time and the quality of the experience. In Europe, our clients have told us they want to go to places like Nice, Ibiza, Mykonos, and Lake Como.”
“During the pandemic, we have built a loyal following with couples and families looking for better alternatives, which give them peace of mind. Many guests are now traveling regularly with Aero, many to their second homes,” continues Subramanian. The flight company’s clients have included Emma Roberts, Hollywood stylist Tara Swennen, DJ Mei Kwok, fashion designer Alana Hadid and musician Jack Gilinsky, among many others.
Whether you’re jetting off on a private plane, or looking to recreate the luxury experience, we’ve rounded up some of the best travel accessories for long flights (but they’ll work just as well for your short ones, too). Ahead, check out our go-to flight essentials, from the luggage brands that frequently fly with A-listers to traveler-minded backpacks and must-haves for sleeping soundly.
Travel in one of this year’s most stylish hues with Away’s medium suitcase, which is now available in lavender. (The rest of the brand’s luggage also comes in the new colorway.) This check-in bag features the direct-to-consumer travel gear brand’s signature features such as a lightweight polycarbonate hard shell, 360-degree spinner wheels, an interior compression system and a water-resistant laundry bag.
Away Medium Suitcase in Lavender
2. Comrad Recycled Cotton Compression Socks
These cozy and stylish socks are nice on your feet and Mother Earth. Comrad uses recycled cotton for these compression socks, which come in a variety of colors and help to relieve swelling and boost circulation. They’re also great for post-workout recovery and the contoured design and stretch make them easy to put on and take off. (Brie Larson and Karlie Kloss have reportedly worn the brand.)
Comrad Recycled Cotton Compression Socks
3. Allbirds R&R Sweater
We’re fans of sustainable lifestyle brand Allbirds’ R&R collection ($98 to $118), which includes sweaters, hoodies and sweatpants in women’s and men’s sizes. The pieces are made of a special blend of organic pima cotton, hemp and Tencel, so expect to lounge on the plane in comfort while you’re wearing the classic fitted sweater and slim-fit sweatpants. Best of all, everything is carbon neutral.
Allbirds R&R Men’s Sweater
4. Béis The Seatback Organizer
Never forget your stuff on the plane when you use Béis’ Seatback Organizer, which has plenty of compartments for your tablet, favorite book, snacks, stationery and more.
Béis The Seatback Organizer
5. EltaMD UV Lip Balm with SPF 36
Sunscreen is always a good idea regardless of your destination. Swip on EltaMD’s UV Lip Balm has SPF 36 to keep your pucker hydrated mid-flight, then again once you land to protect your lips from the sun.
EltaMD UV Lip Balm with SPF 36
6. eBags Pro Weekender Backpack
When you need a sturdy backpack with plenty of storage, eBags’ Pro Weekender can go from being carried on your back to your luggage handle. The convenient pass-through sleeve lets you attach the bag to your suitcase, and it fits underneath your seat so you can easily keep your things handy. The backpack has a TSA-friendly lay-flat padded laptop compartment, and you can fit about three days’ worth of clothing and essentials.
eBags Pro Weekender Backpack
7. Amazon Basics 3-Piece Hardside Spinner Luggage Set
You can’t beat the price of Amazon Basics’ three-piece luggage set, which comes with 21-, 26- and 30-inch scratch-resistant spinner suitcases, which roll comfortably from the terminal to the tarmac. It’s perfect for travelers who want a full matching set without breaking the bank, and each piece has four double spinner wheels, telescoping handles and fully-lined interior organizers with dividers. The luggage can also expand up to 15 percent so you can fit more when you head home.
Amazon Basics 3-Piece Hardside Spinner Set
8. Gravel Layover Travel Blanket
No more fussing with itchy standard-issue fleece blankets that never cover your shoulders— Gravel’s packable and insulated Layover travel blanket is made of recycled water bottles and has a built-in foot pocket, and the snaps let you connect the edges (or attach another blanket) so your accessory stays put. It’s six feet long and 3.5 feet wide, and rolls up into a small pillow-sized stuff sack that measures seven inches by five inches by three inches. A zippered pocket lets you stow away your phone, headphones, wallet and other personal items, and the fabric is waterproof and anti-static.
Gravel Layover Travel Blanket
9. Dimj Packing Cubes, 8-Piece Set
Keep your belongings organized with these best-selling travel packing cubes, which come in a range of colors and eight- or nine-piece options. The sets include three sizes of clothing cubes, organizers for your tech accessories, shoe holders, and smaller zippered bags for your pocket-sized essentials.
Dimj 8-Piece Packing Cube Set
10. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
If a premium audio experience (or the ability to block out noise) and comfort are your top flight priorities, you’ll want to pack Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones. Whether you’re connecting to your own device or to on-flight entertainment, these around-ear Bluetooth headphones offer up to 20 hours of listening on a full charge, and you can choose from three levels of noise cancellation. The dual-microphone delivers clear sound on calls, and you can personalize your audio settings and switch between devices with Bose’s app. The headphones are also compatible with Amazon Alexa, so you can control your music, ask for information about your destination and more.
Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones
11. Calpak Luka Waist Bag
If you prefer to keep your essentials on your person, Calpak’s Luka waist bag is a comfortable and convenient choice. It’s made of lightweight fabric and features plenty of interior compartments and a hidden exterior pocket, and it can be worn as a fanny pack or crossbody.
Calpak Luka Belt Bag
12. Anker PowerCore 20100 Portable Charger
Ensure that all of your devices are powered up during and after that long flight with this high-speed portable charger by Anker. It’s got enough juice to charge smartphones five to seven times (depending on which model you have), and it recharges in as little as 10 hours when you use a two amp charger.
Anker PowerCore 20,100 mAh Portable Charger
13. Dagne Dover Essentials Clutch Wallet
Dagne Dover’s travel clutch doubles as a crossbody wallet for when you want to stay hands-free. The sleek leather carryall has eight card slots, zippered pockets for your phone and other essentials and a handy wrist strap.
Dagne Dover Essentials Clutch Wallet (reg. $135)
14. MedicPro N95 Masks
For extra peace of mind and safety, MedicPro’s CDC-approved N95 respirator face masks will filter out 95 percent of airborne particles, including droplets, dust and debris. They’re particularly handy if you’re heading to a dusty destination.
MedicPro N95 Masks, 10-Pack
15. Etekcity Luggage Scale
The last thing you need before a flight is to get stuck unpacking (and repacking) your belongings when you’ve exceeded the luggage weight limit. This portable luggage scale is an essential travel accessory to keep on hand so you can skip the hassle at check-in and weigh and reassess your baggage ahead of time.
Etekcity Portable Luggage Scale
16. Roam Expandable Luggage
If you’re the type of traveler that always ends up coming home with more baggage, Roam’s new Expandable line of luggage will help you carry the extra load. The travel brand offers four carry-on and check-in suitcase sizes (such as the 60-liter Jaunt XL) that can now carry up to 28 percent more, so you can pack light on the way and stuff your bag on the way back. You can also completely customize Roam’s luggage colors from the handle to the body to the wheels, and finish it with a monogram, too.
Roam The Jaunt XL Expandable Carry-On
17. Athleta Activate Face Masks, 2-Pack
Made of the same moisture-wicking, breathable fabric as Athleta’s activewear, these non-medical face masks have an adjustable fit across the nose and cheekbones, and features patent-pending technology to block about 90 percent of particles. They’re available in other colors and are perfect for double-masking.
Get light-free shut-eye with Manta Sleep’s blackout eye mask. It has adjustable modal eye cups that mold to your face (without preventing you from blinking), so you can enjoy your snooze session in comfort.
Manta Sleep Eye Mask
19. Tallgo Travel Neck Pillow
This memory foam neck pillow will make your mid-flight nap a more comfortable one. It’s made of soft velour material and the ergonomic design helps to support your head and neck when you’re sleeping in your plane seat. It comes with a storage bag and can be easily stuffed away when it’s time to deboard.
Tallgo Travel Neck Pillow
20. Stojo Collapsible Water Bottle
Avoid getting parched while reducing waste with Stojo’s collapsible silicone water bottle, which holds 20 ounces and comes in other stylish colors. It’s great for throwing in your bag when you know you’ll need to drink up later, but can’t bring your water through the TSA checkpoint.
Stojo Collapsible Bottle
21. July Carry-On Pro Luggage
Australian luggage brand July is the latest name in stylish travel accessories to land in the U.S. The company’s Carry On Pro suitcase is ideal for frequent travelers who prefer a sleek design and like to travel light and efficiently. This 26-liter luggage has a TSA-friendly lock, an ejectable USB charger and a detachable front sleeve for quickly removing your laptop (or whatever else you decide to stow in it) at the airport. Inside, a hidden laundry bag, convenient twin-strap compression system and storage compartments make it easy to organize your belongings.
July Carry On Pro
22. Bellroy Travel Folio
Keep your passport, boarding documents, vaccine card and other travel essentials in one sleek spot with Bellroy’s leather folio. It comes with RFID protection, a mini pen (as well as space for a full-sized one) and plenty of interior slots for your ID and credit cards.
Bellroy Travel Folio
23. Travelsox Flight Travel Socks
These travel-friendly socks are made of a blend of Coolmax, Lycra and nylon, which help to prevent moisture build-up. The compression design helps to reduce mid-flight foot swelling, stimulate blood flow and keep your feet comfortable while you’re seated for long periods.
Travelsox Flight Travel Socks
24. Monos Carry-On Pro Plus
Yet another luxury luggage option for stylish travelers, Monos’ Carry-On Pro Plus is for frequent flyers who also want to take advantage of the brand’s summer sale. (Brandi Cyrus was recently spotted flying out of Nashville with the same suitcase.) Made of aerospace-grade polycarbonate, this style fits a 15-inch laptop in the front compartment and fits in most overhead bins. It’s finished with vegan leather accents, super-quiet 360-degree wheels and a sturdy telescoping handle.
Monos Carry-On Pro Plus (reg. $347)
25. Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack
For essentials that you want to keep within arm’s reach on the flight, Everlane’s ReNew Transit backpack is compact enough to be stowed under your seat. Made of recycled polyester with a water-resistant finish, the backpack has comfy straps so you can breeze through the terminal, and the luggage pass-through strap lets you attach it to the handle of your rolling suitcase with ease. Inside, it’s got a compartment for a 15-inch laptop, a water bottle holder and two organization compartments; outside, there’s a large zippered pocket and an external bottle pocket.
Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack
26. Samsonite Stryde 111 Carry-On Spinner
When you expect to land at night, Samsonite’s new Stryde 111 carry-on spinner will keep your path illuminated, thanks to the brand’s built-in eVision LED lighting in the handle. USB ports keep your devices powered up when you add your own battery charger, and the inside includes three removable accessories to keep your items organized.